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Crafting Catch22’s future leaders: a year of the mentoring network

A diverse group of staff sit on the edge of a table, laughing together. One is holding a clipboard as they discuss a task.

The Catch22 Mentoring Network is a 12-month programme for staff who are, or who aspire to be, in a management or leadership role. Through this programme, Catch22 supports them to develop the skills that can help them towards this ambition. 2023 is the first year that the mentoring network has been available to all staff in Catch22.

With the recent graduation of the 2023 cohort, Catch22 Assistant Director for Victim Services, Emma Jones, delves into what the mentoring network has achieved and what more is to come.

A buzzing year of activity

Our 2023 programme consisted of bi-monthly workshops, covering topics such as refining communication skills, learning how to develop and best use your network, and creating a coaching culture within your team. Our mentees were tasked with a project to complete during the year, which led to some innovative ideas around better connectivity across our hubs and services, and celebrating our leadership mistakes to recognise that we are all learning every day.

One of our main aims of the programme was to foster collaboration across our organisation, so we also built in a placement element to the programme allowing staff the opportunity to learn about other services. This meant someone working in a service focusing on justice could go and spend a day or two learning about finance! When asked to give feedback on the programme, 100% of those involved responded positively about their experience.

We finished the year with a two-day residential which gave participants the opportunity to get away from the troubles and strifes of everyday work, and really focus on their personal development. Since their year on the programme was coming to an end, we discussed future goals, promoting a culture of continuous learning and providing sustainable development opportunities for those involved. We also threw in some fun team-building activities (including abseiling for the braver among us)!

Personalised support outside of the usual channels

In addition to the above, mentees were matched with an experienced Catch22 leader to provide one-to-one monthly support, guidance and advice. Mentees found this one-to-one support invaluable as it gave them time to reflect on learning from the workshops, placement, and project, as well as learn from those who may have experienced similar challenges to them. It provided a channel to talk through their career journey and next steps with a Catch22 leader outside of their direct management.

The mentoring network has met everything I set out to achieve and more so. I think the team organising the sessions and the network as a whole have been extremely supportive throughout, and have worked well to match the individual needs of people. I feel like I am taking a lot away from this experience.

– Catch22 mentee, 2023

A chance to share skills and expertise

We found that mentors gained just as much from the experience as mentees, giving them an opportunity to reflect on their own careers and experiences as well as learn more about other roles and services in the organisation. Mentors told us how they had found a profound sense of reward in being part of their mentee’s career and learning journey.

I loved being able to mentor my mentee and seeing her grow has been really lovely. I love the mentoring network and what it aims to achieve!

– Catch22 mentor, 2023

What’s next?

Catch22’s mentoring network is back for the 2024 programme. We’ve taken on feedback and learning from last year’s participants and built in more support for mentors, more guidance, targeted choice for mentee placements, and a workshop focused on project management skills. We’ve also doubled the number of employees taking part in the network meaning we can double the number of potential future leaders!

– Emma Jones, Catch22 Assistant Director for Victim Services